Last week, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., ruled that he would fast-track President Trump's lawsuit to block his accounting firm from handing eight years of his financial records to the House Oversight Committee, which subpoenaed them. Mehta said he would decide the merits of the case after a hearing on Tuesday, skipping a preliminary phase. On Monday, Trump's lawyers said Mehta is moving too fast.
"The sole question before the court — Is the House Oversight Committee's issuance of a subpoena to Mazars USA LLP for financial records of President Donald Trump and various associated entities a valid exercise of legislative power? — is fully briefed, and the court can discern no benefit from an additional round of legal arguments," Mehta, an Obama appointee, wrote Thursday.
Trump's lawyers disagreed on Monday, saying they need more time to gather evidence and develop their legal arguments in the lawsuit they filed. On Monday night, Mehta rejected their request to delay the hearing or narrow its scope but said he will hear their objections on Tuesday.
"The executive branch strategy mostly seems to be a blanket rejection of all attempts at oversight, regardless of the issue, up until the election," Lisa Kern Griffin, a professor of constitutional law at Duke University, tells Reuters. "So any time the calendar is accelerated that probably favors Congress." If the losing side appeals, Mehta's accelerated schedule means an appellate court could get the case by summer, The Washington Post reports.
Last week, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens told The Wall Street Journal "the president is exercising powers that do not really belong to him," adding, "I mean, he has to comply with subpoenas and things like that." If the Supreme Court weighs in on the battles between Trump and House Democrats, "I wouldn't want to predict that anybody's going to take the incorrect view," Stevens said. "But certainly, the correct view is pretty clear."